There’s no one way of perfecting breastfeeding, as every mum, and breast, is different.
Exclusively breastfeeding is fabulous, but new mums have options, and a bottle of expressed breast milk or formula each day is OK, too.
To support your breastfeeding goals, my top ten secrets are:
1. Go Pro
Consider getting professional education about breastfeeding from a midwife or lactation expert, and do your research, prior to the birth of your baby. Contact your local Australian Breastfeeding Association or look into a Lactation Consultant in your area.
There is even a breast feeding hotline for new Mum’s offered by the Australian Breastfeeding Association. The number is 1800 686 268.
2. No Nipples Are the Same
Nipples are such an important part of breastfeeding. However not one nipple is the same. Years ago, we used to check nipples prior to birth and I continue to do this. I recommend that you discuss the shape of your nipples with your midwife prior to birth to manage your breastfeeding expectations.
Fun Facts About Nipples:
- All nipples are as unique as fingerprints.
- Nipple-gasms are a thing! Some lucky ladies can orgasm through nipple play alone.
- The plural of Areola is Areolae.
- The bumps on your areola are called ‘Glands of Montgomery’ and they are there to moisturize your nipple during breastfeeding.
3. Shield Yourself
Regardless of whether you think you’ll need them, I recommend including nipple shields in your hospital bag as a packing essential.The NUK nipple shields are made of extremely thin silicone offering natural skin contact between mum and baby, can help relieve discomfort in the early stages of breastfeeding and allow calm and natural sucking.
4. Skin on Skin Contact
Get as much physical contact with your babies. As soon as possible once they are born, for as long as possible.
5. It Takes a Village
Surround yourself with a village of good professionals and supportive friends and family. They are those who provide positive advice and support in the early stages while you learn and improve latching and establish a strong milk supply.
If someone close to you is poo pooing your ideas about breast-feeding, ask them not to comment to you about it. It is your decision and this time in your life is your most vulnerable.
6. Core Support
Focus on listening and learning from one core support person in establishing feeding and developing that initial connection with your baby.
7. Good Feeding Can Take Time
Don’t try and rush it.We all want feeding, whether that from the breast or a bottle, to be quick and easy, but it takes consistent, hard work. For breastfeeding mums, milk can take 6-8 weeks to completely establish. Understand that each day gets better and every day will be different.
8. Dad’s Are Important Too
Let Father’s or partners take an active role in bathing, dressing and wrapping the baby and giving a bottle of milk. Whether that is expressed breast milk or formula, at night time. The NUK Nature Sense electric breast pump enables mum to express breastmilk at a time that is convenient for her and provides a great opportunity for dad to play a part in the day with their newborn, a win for bub who develops a lifelong connection with both parents, and a win for mum who gets a physical and emotional break from the constant needs from the baby.
9. Breast Pumps are Awesome
For mums who have smaller babies (under 2.5 kilos) or mums with inverted nipples, it is recommended that you consider incorporating a breast pump into your feeding routine. This supports babies who need additional milk and support with feeding if they cannot attach or suck effectively from the breast. Plus they are brilliant!
The technology behind breast pumps is incredible, with the NUK Nature Sense electric breast pump including 16 options for speed and suction to ensure maximum efficiency. It even has a memory function, so you can keep it set on the right setting that works best for you.
10. Technology is Awesome
Take advantage of the products that are available to you. From NUK nipple shields that can relieve sensitive nipples during breastfeeding allowing calm and natural sucking, NUK Nature Sense electric breast pumps which can support in expressing milk for a bottle feed and NUK Nature Sense bottles and extra soft flexible teats in various sizes that mimic the nipple giving mums a much-needed break. They are all wonderful solutions in supporting you in how you choose to feed your baby.
Always remember, that no matter your journey, you are doing a great job and your baby is beautiful.
All comments are attributed to Midwife Cath Curtin.